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Within minutes security had the box of dead rats, Dolly and Ebony had their walking papers; Edith thought the abuse was now all cleared up. Mary wondered what Jayde might do next. Until they were all locked up there would be no peace for anyone at Idle A While Nursing Home.
The trouble at Idle A While didn’t disappear overnight. Certain resident abuse was still reported to her throughout the day. If Jayde was gone from the night shift, how could it continue? She had no control over anyone or anything anymore, or did she? Mary began scrutinizing the list of workers on the night shift. Of course, Dolly Sweetig and Ebony Jane, Jayde’s right hand aids were still on staff. Did Jayde still have the power to manipulate their actions?
Mary knocked on Edith’s door. A look of disgust greeted her when she opened the door. “What is it?” Edit’s voice was as sharp as her glare. Her impatience was obvious.
“It’s about resident care.” Mary crossed the expanse from the door to stand in front of Edith’s desk.
“Sit,” Edith demanded. Mary was tempted to bark. Edith sounded like she was commanding a dog.
She put her pen down on the stack of papers she was signing and removed her thick glasses, laced her fingers together and plopped her hands on top of the stack of papers. “What about resident care? And make it quick, I have an armload of paperwork to fill out for firing Jayde.”
The way she said it Mary thought it sounded like she might fire her next. Mary knew it was easier to hire then it was to fire someone, but had never had to fill out the accompanying paperwork. “I think she still has her fingers in this pie.”
Edith bolted from her chair flinging the wheeled desk chair back into the wall with her sudden movement. The look on her face contorted from pain, to fear, to anger as she rapidly paced the office floor from desk to door and back several times. She seemed oblivious to Mary sitting there. She had the feeling Edith might bolt right out the door any minute and never return.
“I think it’s Dolly and Ebony,” she said testing whether Edith was capable of listening or at least hearing what she said.
A couple sharp raps on the door startled Edith and paused her in her worried pacing, “Enter,” she commanded her voice returning to her “in charge” demeanor.
As if cued by Mary’s accusation, Dolly and Ebony stood at the door with a neatly gift wrapped package. “From Jayde,” Dolly said.
“She’s sorry she upset you,” Ebony said her voice loaded with so much sugar it would overdose a non-diabetic person. Mary knew Edith was diabetic, and she worried the sugar in ebony’s voice was more toxic then real sugar would be.
They simultaneously glared at Mary. She could feel the hatred slice into her like needles in a voodoo doll. She held her ground and returned the glares with her own. She would not be intimidated by these two. It would never end if she was.
Edith accepted the brightly wrapped gift and closed the door behind the two women as they left.
Something wasn’t right. Mary sensed it. Either Jayde was looking to get back into Edith’s good graces, which she doubted, or—the gift was a bear in another guise. She nearly expected to hear the box ticking like a time bomb, whatever it was she was sure it wasn’t good. “Edith, I don’t trust that...” She began as Edith started to open the box.
“Oh, don’t be silly.” Edith carefully removed the wrapping paper and folded it before she cut the tape on the shoe box lid.
Mary held her breath expecting the worst.
Edith lifted the lid carefully and began removing the pastel tissue paper. She screamed and flung the box across the room. As it sailed a white rat impaled on a long handled sword letter opener fell to the floor with a clang. Mary gasped, but swallowed her disgust and went to put the poor creature back in the box.
“Don’t touch the knife, fingerprints,” Edith sputtered as she dialed the number for security.
Within minutes security was walking out with the dead rat and Dolly and Ebony had their walking papers. Edith didn’t ask, she just fired them. They would not be delivering anymore packages from Jayde or anyone, at least not to Idle A While. They protested that they had no clue what was in the box, but Edith wasn’t buying what they were selling.
Edith had started to tell Mary that her accusations about residents being abused was all her over-active imagination, but now she seemed to be taking her seriously. “It should all be cleared up now with those two gone,” she said. Her voice was subdued, nearly apologetic if Edith ever could be considered apologetic for anything.
Mary wondered if Edith was as leery of what Jayde might do next as she was. Until they were all locked up there would be no peace for any of them at Idle A While, Mary felt certain.
Award winning Mystery/Suspense author Billie A Williams is a fiction, non-fiction and poetry author and has won numerous contests for her short/flash fiction stories, essays, and poetry. She is published in various magazines such as the literary magazine Thema; Guide, a Magazine for Children, Novel Advice.com, Writing Etc. WritingNow.com, and Women In The Arts newsletter as well as Sister’s in Crime, to list but a few.
Her articles, columns and features have appeared regularly in newspapers. Short stories, Flash fiction, poetry and book reviews have appeared in Mystery Time, True Love Magazine and various anthologies and on line e-zines and web sites. She writes a bi-monthly column titled “Whodunit?” for Mystery Fiction’s Voices in the Dark and is a contributing editor for Writingnow.com a Blueberry Press Newsletter. She also hosts her own writer’s group, Word Mage. She is an active blogger; http://printedwords.blogspot.com and http://onewomansgarden.blogspot.com , as well as owning and operating a Book Club for serialized chapters of her Novel The Capricorn Goat~~January Flannel available for free to those who sign up for her mailing list http://www.billiewilliams.com/BOOKCLUB.html and a Free Writer’s course at Pens In Motion http://www.pensinmotion.com , a five week series of writing lessons pulled from her three published books on writing how to write and two currently being developed.
Williams is currently a member of The Wisconsin Regional Writers Association (WRWA) Upper Peninsula Writers Association (UPWA)National Association of Women Writers (NAWW) Sister’s in Crime, Women in the Arts Program, Electronically Published Internet Connection (EPIC), Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. (SCBWI) and Children’s Book Insider, and the Children Writers Coaching Club. Her website www.billiewilliams.com
She lives with her husband in Amberg, a small Northern Wisconsin community where the winters are cold and long, but the people are warm and friendly.
Billie A. Williams has breathed life into a believable set of characters you'll love or love to hate. The story is packed with enthralling plot twists that keep the reader glued to the page as the dark dynamics of relationships and crime unfold. Death by Candlelight holds rare delights in store for the murder mystery lover., --Susan J. Letham, http://www.Inspired2Write.com
What is innocence? What is guilt? And who is really to blame for the death of Randolph Ord III?
A domineering mother, a spoiled son, and a woman who dreams of a husband, a child, and a home. The characters in Death by Candlelight are familiar, and that's what lends them their appeal. You may sympathize with them. You may despise them. But Ms. Williams brings them to life so vividly they won't leave you cold.
The gripping murder investigation in Death by Candlelight takes the 'whodunnit and how?' a step further and explores the shades of gray that make up the 'why?' Billie Williams has studied her craft and knows how to keep a reader turning pages. The plot is substantial and full of clever surprises.
The smoothly-paced story unfolds to reveal, little by little, a dramatic tale of twisted family relationships, crime, love, envy and death: the perfect mix for a murder mystery. -- Susan J. Letham, http://www.Inspired2Write.com
Death by Candlelight portrays the unbending force upon humans to repeat generational cycles of abusers and victims. Cycles that love, faith or hope can rarely supersede. Yet, with the unraveling of a murder, we are still left with a glimmer of hope. , -- Shelly Moloney, Author Star Slurry
DEATH BY CANDLELIGHT is a fast-paced read filled with a diverse cast of characters who each have their own motives for murder. Just when you think you've hit the calm after the storm, Williams' story takes the reader in a new and more intriguing direction. -- Shirley Kawa-Jump, THE VIRGIN’S PROPOSAL, Silhouette Romance, January 2003, Writing classes: firstname.lastname@example.org
Death By Candlelight,, The story? TERRIFIC. I could hardly wait to finish it.. reminds me of Sydney Sheldon.... --Judy Bozicevich, Administrative Assistant, Edward Jones Company
Every time I thought I had Death by Candlelight figured out, Williams threw in a new twist that left me thinking, I DIDN'T see that coming! Death By Candlelight isn't so much a "Who-Done-It" as it is a character driven story filled with more twists than a Colorado mountain road. It's a quick read without any lulls in the action. Death by Candlelight is a fabulous first novel by Wisconsin writer, Billie Williams. Be sure to watch her career--I'm sure we'll hear from her again--at least I hope we do! -- Beth Erickson, http://filbertpublishing.com
Fire At Thunder Ridge: “Bloody footprints in the snow--the most puzzling fire I’ve ever heard about--once wasn’t enough for this book. I had to go back & read it a second time to admire Billie Williams’ inventiveness & vivid imagery all over again.” -- Fran Keighley, Golden Wings Award winning author.”
…I think the best word to describe Fire at Thunder Ridge is "thrilling." With action, suspense, and intrigue, Fire at Thunder Ridge is a mystery-suspense to keep the reader hooked until they finish the last page… Fire at Thunder Ridge is exciting and very suspenseful. I highly recommend it!, -- Beverley Bateman, email@example.com, http://www.beverleybateman.com, It's only a step from caring to killing
The Pink Lady Slipper: Trudy Moncha's mother died unexpectedly of a heart attack. She inherited the family Homestead in Michigan, and with it The Pink Lady Slipper, a big old haunted log house with a fascinating history as whorehouse and station on the underground railroad. Trudy was on the road as a rodeo clown for years, but recently a bull gored her leg, and she needs a new career. Once home, she tries to talk to her sister, Linda, about their mother's health, but gets nowhere. Trudy hires a female contractor to repair the winter's snow damage to the Lady Slipper, and talks with neighborhood people. She learns her mother's fiancé disappeared shortly before her death. Her mother had been a allowing a coven of witches to meet in The Lady Slipper. The preacher's wife is sure the place is full of sin, and shrieks at everyone to burn it down. Trudy has the contractor begin the work to turn it into a Bed and Breakfast Inn for her, and they discover a dead body beneath the floor boards. If the place wasn't haunted before, it must be now. The trouble is; there's no clown's barrel big enough for Trudy to hide in, from the evil growing in The Pink Lady Slipper. -- Judy Miller, Return To Port Darkling
The Pink Lady Slipper: This is a great book read. There are little things in the story that give you an eerie feeling of someone almost watching over your shoulder as you read the pages. The stench in the room sent chills through me not to mention hearing the footsteps on the stairs. I love the description Ms. Williams gave the spider spinning its silk. The story line with Faith and her preacher husband – excellent. I wanted to jump through the pages and bring her back with me. I loved the way Xavier gave the description of Sally to Trudy.
Ms. Williams’ brilliant creativity and style of writing never ceases to amaze me. She has created a spine-tingling tale that will keep you spellbound until the end! The characters, along with the secondary characters, that she blends well into the story have great depth and are very believable. This book is not only a keeper, it is a winner.
Kudos to Ms. Williams. THE PINK LADY SLIPPER is a book that I could not put down. It is a page-turner from the first page to the last. This book is filled with spellbinding excitement with twists and turns at every corner. I can hardly wait to read Ms. Williams next book! She is an excellent storyteller! -- Linda Lattimer, Skeletons Too Close to Home, WingsePress.com
With The Pink Lady Slipper, Billie Williams has crafted a gripping tale filled with enough twists, turns and suspects to keep me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. -- Nora Peterson, author of Past Imperfect coming from Wings ePress, September 2006
Small Town Secrets: Actually, the past of more than one person in this town will blast into the forefront at various places. Billie Williams, in her book, Small Town Secrets will keep you guessing all the way to the end. Oh, there is a surprise guest appearance by a very well known author also. I won’t spill the name, but the letters J, E and another one lead you into a whole other realm as indicated in Small Town Secrets. This is one secret revealed that will give an indication of how high a caliber this book is. -- Ron Berry, http://here-it-is.tripod.com
Readers will be gripped and drawn by the first few pages of Billie Williams' next book, GHOST MUSIC OF VAUDVILLE. The complex relationship between characters Tommy and Charlie will set heads spinning as the story unfolds. Obscure, while still human, GHOST is a "can't put down" new work. -- Jack Magestro CEO, Belle Ink LLC, publishing and design
Knapsack Secrets by Billie A. Williams is about people and relationships. It’s a story about the compassion one human being has for another regardless of status. It is also about greed and murder and how low a person will sink to achieve success and how weak and stupid the "powers that be" can be, however powerful they are.
Williams gets inside her characters and brings out the best and worst in them. She shows you how easily a person at the top of the world can tumble off the tip of it in the flash of an eye, losing everything and being reduced to a street person. At first you think, "How can this really happen to someone with such a prestigious position in a large company?"
Billie A. Williams gives you the answer and makes the situation believable in the real world of greed, deceit and evil. She doesn’t pull any punches or leave any stone unturned. Her characters–both the bad and good–face one challenge after another. She proves that nothing valuable is easily gained but can be easily lost.
I promise you, Williams’ characters will stay with you long after you read the last word of Knapsack Secrets. They will own a part of your heart and never let go. You will never look at homeless people the same ever again in the same way. Knapsack Secrets is a Must Read!-- J. Gayle Kelly The Watermelon Patch.
Knapsack Secrets: Williams astounds me with her usage of words and phrases. She hits the nail on the head when it comes to choosing the correct word every time and the correct phrase. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried, and I’ve gotten up at 1:00 in the morning to read more because I couldn’t sleep, trying to figure out who did what.
Believe me, Williams characters will linger with you long after you’ve read the book. I’m hoping she’ll write a sequel to Knapsack Secrets. And I think she might. As a rule, I’m not a mystery reader, but this one knocked me for a loop. -- Knapsack Secrets, Reviewed by SK Hamilton, The Kahills of Willow Walk, www.skhamilton.com, www.willow-walk.tripod.com
Billie A. Williams’s latest novel, ‘Knapsack Secrets’ had me hooked by the second page. ... Knapsack Secrets is one to read more than once. Billie has done a superb job with this book. -- Pat McCain, Author
Knapsack Secrets: Williams creates some fascinating characters in Knapsack Secrets who will keep you turning the pages through any rough spots in the prose. Hang in there through the prickly beginning and you’ll be rewarded with the drama of Audrey’s day-to-day life as she crosses paths with a demented murderer and his sex kitten-with-a-heart-of-ice. The cold, hard slap of betrayal by a disinterested and disloyal spouse, being ostracized by her co-workers, living each day as if it might be her last—can life get any worse? Just when you’re certain there’s no hope, add to the mix an engaging street boy and a homeless woman who seeks justice for her friend and you’ll have the recipe for a tasty bowl of stone soup— à la Billie A. Williams. --Ingrid Taylor
Forget about sweet cozy mysteries. Knapsack Secrets has too much suspense, drama and action to be classified as such a mild novel. From the first chapter to the last, my heart was racing--sometimes with indignation, sometimes with dread or horror. There were enough pauses for pleasant scenes to give the reader an occasional emotional rest; but not for long. The characters have depth with clear motivations, whether good or bad. Billie Williams gives us several issues to consider within the context of a drop-dead (literally) story: adultery, abuse, murder, homelessness, business politics, friendships and life in general. Knapsack Secrets would make a great selection for book club discussions, as well as personal reading. This is a page-turner; one of those books that will keep you up all night to finish. Then you will spend the next day thinking about it. --Brenda (Eolande Brana-Faolan) Gaeth's Way, Runes
Read Knapsack Secrets and find out how a homeless woman, a street urchin and a deceived ex executive woman rock the town’s elite. How many secrets does Brother John have? There is more than soup in that soup kitchen. --Ron Berry, Professional Reviewer, firstname.lastname@example.org http://berrysreviews.tripod.com
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 316
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